It's one of those social etiquette conundrums we've all faced before - you jump into a taxi or an Uber and you are just not in the mood for chatting, but the driver feels as though it is their duty to be polite and make small talk. Now, Uber has found a solution for avoiding this awkward situation. It's called 'Quiet Mode'.
The news comes courtesy of an update to rider preferences for Uber Black customers, the company's luxury car service. According to Uber, the new features and requirements have been designed to meet rider expectations on every ride. A press release said: "We’re offering an increasing number of ways for riders to personalize their experiences."
The feature that will probably resonate most is a Quiet Mode, which lets riders tell the driver how up for a chat they are. Three options are available, 'quiet preferred', 'happy to chat' or 'no preference'. Of course, in the past you could have politely explained this to your driver upon entering the vehicle, but why go through the effort of social interaction if it can be avoided, right....?
Aydin Ghajar, Uber's product manager, told Tech Crunch that quiet mode is something that people have been asking for for a long time. However, Ghajar did state that keeping quiet was not mandatory. He said: "The driver is an independent contractor. We’re just communicating the rider’s preference. The driver can have that information and do with it what they want."
Other new rider preferences allow Uber Black customers to let drivers know they need help with luggage and what their preferred optimal temperature for the air-conditioning or heating inside the vehicle is. There's also premium phone support, like that which already exists for Diamond tier members of Uber Rewards, coming to Uber Black too.
Uber announced that the new feature preferences, as well as premium support, will be available to 100% of US Uber Black and Uber Black SUV riders on May 15. The new driver and vehicle requirements are live in 35 US cities, with plans to expand to more locations soon.
The ride-hailing giant has not announced plans to expand Quiet Mode or other premium features to UberX, UberPool or international markets, yet. Although after the company's disappointing IPO last week, Uber has a strong incentive to encourage riders to upgrade to its more premium services via features such as this.
Would you like to see the feature launch in your region?